Frederick Lippitt

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Frederick Lippitt

Birthdate: (88)
Death: May 11, 2005 (88)
Immediate Family:

Son of Henry F. Lippitt, U.S. Senator and Lucy Hayes Herron
Brother of Mary Ann Lippitt
Half brother of Frances Gage

Managed by: Private User
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About Frederick Lippitt

Frederick Lippitt (December 29, 1916 – May 11, 2005) was an American military officer, attorney and politician. He was the scion of a distinguished Rhode Island colonial family, the son of United States Senator Henry F. Lippitt (1911–1917) and Lucy Hayes Herron Lippitt. He was the grandson of Governor Henry Lippitt and the nephew of Governor Charles Warren Lippitt. First Lady Nellie Herron Taft was his aunt. He was the cousin of the late Senator John Chafee and Senator Lincoln Chafee.

Mr. Lippitt graduated from Yale University in 1939; after World War II he completed Yale Law School in 1946. He was a trustee of both St. Mark's School, where he prepped for college, and Brown University, to which he left the bulk of his fortune upon his death.

Military Service

Lippitt dropped out of Yale Law School and enlisted in the United States Army in April 1941, eight months before the attack on Pearl Harbor. He was commissioned a 2nd lieutenant in the Field Artillery in October 1942. He saw service in Italy and the Philippines and rose to the rank of captain by the end of the war. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart in recognition of his combat service in the Second World War.

After the war, he joined the Rhode Island National Guard in August 1947. During the Korean War he was mobilized with the 43d Infantry Division and served in Germany from September 1950 to August 1952. After being released from active duty he was promoted to major in February 1953 and served for ten years as a battalion commander in the 103rd Field Artillery Regiment. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel in February 1957 and retired from the National Guard in 1963.

After the Second World War, Lippitt worked as an attorney in the law firm of Edwards and Angell in Providence and rose to senior partner.

Political career

Lippitt served as a member of the Rhode Island House of Representatives from 1961 to 1983, including ten years as House Minority Leader. As a legislator he was noted for his commitment to fiscal responsibility, civil rights and open government. He was also noted for his influence in the passage of the Rhode Island Fair Housing Act of 1968.

Lippitt was a lifelong Republican. His political philosophy could be best described as conservative on economic issues but progressive on social issues.

Frustrated by the corruption of Providence politics under the leadership of eventually indicted mayor Vincent Cianci, Lippitt ran for mayor three times - once as a Republican (1982) and twice (1984 and 1990) as an Independent, losing each time - the last two times by margins of less than 200 votes.[3]

He was an unsuccessful candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Rhode Island in 1988.

In 1985 Lippitt was appointed as the Director of the Rhode Island Department of Administration by Governor Edward DiPrete. He also served as a member of the Rhode Island Board of Governors for Elementary and Secondary Education for several years prior to his death.

Lippitt was admitted as an honorary member of the Rhode Island Society of the Cincinnati in 1972 and became an hereditary member in 1989.

He was buried in the Lippitt family plot in the Swan Point Cemetery in Providence.

Personal life

Lippitt's father died the day before his 17th birthday. He never married and lived with his sister Mary Ann Lippitt.


In his will, Lippitt provided for the endowment of two professorships at Brown University with a bequest of $3 million for each. One was named the Frederick Lippitt Chair of Public Policy and the other the Mary Ann Lippitt chair of History. In addition, his will provided that his home on Prospect Street (valued at $2.8 million) be given to the University upon his sister's death.

On January 19, 2006 Lippitt was posthumously inducted by Mayor of Providence David Cicilline into the Reverend Martin Luther King Hall of Fame. At the induction Mayor Cicilline said of Lippitt -

"The late Frederick Lippitt was a longtime advocate of civil rights and equality. As a member of the Rhode Island General Assembly, he pushed for the passage of fair housing legislation. He championed the cause of women and minority business owners as Director of Administration, and as the Chairman of the Rhode Island Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education, Lippitt pushed for diversity among the regents and worked to improve the quality of life for students. The nomination letter credits Lippitt for helping the poor and disenfranchised and said Lippitt 'made a sustained commitment to Providence, a city he was unabashedly in love with.'"

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Frederick Lippitt's Timeline

December 29, 1916
May 11, 2005
Age 88